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Study designs in the Life and Behavioral Sciences


Admission requirements



A good study design is very important as poorly designed studies may yield misleading results. In this course study designs both for experimental studies (where an investigator is actively intervening) and for observational studies are considered. Applications are in agricultural, social and bio-medical sciences. A selection of the topics included is:

  • Experimental designs

  • Optimal designs

  • Sample size calculation

  • Randomized clinical trials

  • Follow-up studies

  • Case-control studies

  • Bias and confounding

  • Survey sampling

Course objectives

Obtain knowledge on the popular study designs statisticians cope with in the life & behavioral sciences.

Mode of Instruction

Class time will consist of lectures and class discussion of assigned readings and homework problems.

Time Table

For the course days, course location and class hours check the Time Table 2013-14 under the tab “Masters Programme” at

Assessment method

During the course, three assignments will be handed out of which the dates will be announced at the start of the course. Furthermore there will be a Practical exercise on a course lecture day which is mandatory and will be graded.

All assignments will be marked on a scale of 1 to 10. The final grade will be a weighted average of the assignments grades. Assignment 1 has a weight of 2, the other assignments and the practical exercise will have weight 1.

Every student has to hand in his/her own assignment. If two assignments are very similar (plagiarism), both students will receive a grade of 1. Grades will be returned within three weeks after the deadline.

If the mark for an assignment is lower than 6, the student is allowed to correct the errors of the assignment and turn in an improved version within two weeks after the marks have been published. The final mark for this assignment cannot be higher than 6.

Reading List

  • Piantadosi S. (2005). Clinical Trials: A Methodologic Perspective, Second Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Friedman LM, Furberg CD, and DeMets D L. Fundamentals of Clinical Trials. Springer-Verlag, New York. 3rd edition. 1998.

  • Casella: Statistical design, Springer-Verlag, New York. 2rd edition. 2008.

  • Internet material provided during the course

Course Registration

Besides registration in uSis, course registration via blackboard is compulsory.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

s [dot] le_cessie [at] lumc [dot] nl


  • This is a compulsory course in the Master’s programme of the specialisation Statistical Science for the Life & Behavioural sciences.